Wouldn’t you like to own an Android tablet for under £100! Binatone sells the HomeSurf 705 for just that price. It certainly doesn’t look that cheap on the outside. The sturdy construction is deceptive of the price. The case is thin and glossy, giving it the higher priced look. However, it’s loaded with the older Android 2.1, but it’s not even the version made for tablets. Another cost saving downgrade Binatone has taken is to leave out some tablet standards, such as a camera and bluetooth. The worst downgrade, though is the resistive screen. It is not nearly as precise as a capacitive screen.
Regardless of these deficiencies, this tablet should be given the respect it deserves for offering a tablet for such an affordable price. Binatone reminds us that the HomeSurf 705 is designed only for basic browsing, watching videos, reading eBooks, and using the Mindings app bundled with the tablet. It is really an offering for those not very adept with the newest tech gadgets.
The Mindings app is some hybrid Facebook app and digital photo frame. Reminders, social updates, and photos are easily pushed. Mindings is also a cloud service. The intention is to put a device in the hands of your grandma or some other elderly person you want to keep track of. While it is an intriguing idea, Binatone has not thought out all the necessities to make it happen smoothly enough for this purpose. It is still in Beta, but the ease of use is not its strong point.
The most resistive feature to ease of use is the resistive screen. Typing errors abound with the Android keyboard. Add on top of that the terribly low resolution of 800×480, where the images are quite blurry, and you have some pretty significant drag on usage. Everything you want to see clearly requires zooming, especially small text. The resistive screen gives a rough look to everything, diminishing viewing angles as well. The colors are vibrant, but that does not offset the fact that the Photo app puts everything at disproportionate ratios by stretching to fit the screen. This was highly irritating.
One clear redundancy that indicated they had not put a lot of thought into the project was the Home, Back, and Menu buttons at the top edge. The HomeSurf 705 already has these physical buttons. So why put them in the software as well?
Since this is a low end Android tablet, don’t expect an Android Market nor any of the normally included apps. Don’t even expect to be able to add them, since there are no hacks out there for this one. You’re on your own. Only the GigaStore, included with the HomeSurf, is available. It takes the less intuitive approach to listing apps as well, by Popular, New, and Recommended. You cannot browse by category. It escapes me how you will find an app for a specific need.
It is disconcerting also that many are rated at half a star. Nearly all are games or joke apps. Some are even copies of famous apps. It is a dangerous tool for newbies. Binatone would have been wiser leaving it out completely.
The battery life on the HomeSurf was quite good, at over 5 hours. It does come with a microSD, so you can expand the storage.
The limitations set it up for a particular market niche, but it is unclear whether Binatone has met the needs for that market niche in this product. Still, it is an interesting device, even if it feels more experimental than actual.
Source: Expert Reviews